Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on Democrat Jon Ossoff’s loss in the special election for Georgia’s 6th district during an appearance on The View on Wednesday.
“You’ve got to be careful about reading too much into this election,” Bloomberg said. “Although I will say one thing: Maybe it shows that all the money in the world can’t buy an election.”
“The public is a lot smarter than people give them credit for,” Bloomberg added.
The race for Georgia’s 6th district was the most expensive House race in US history. Ossoff and his opponent, Republican Karen Handel — who won the seat on Tuesday evening with 52% of the vote — spent a combined $US50 million raised from national Democratic and Republican organisations.
Ossoff railed against the “role of money in politics” in an interview with NPR on Tuesday, calling it a “problem.”
“There have been super PACs in Washington who have been putting up tens of millions of dollars of attack ads in air for months now,” Ossoff said. “When you have that kind of an environment, it’s necessary to raise the resources to fight back.”
Ossoff’s campaign raised $US23.6 million alone from individual donors, compared to $US5.6 million for Handel, The New York Times reports. Though many of Ossoff’s donors came from outside of Georgia — in liberal states like California and New York — Handel had the edge in support from national political action committees, or PACs.
The Congressional Leadership fund raised $US6.2 million alone for Handel — about a third of the $US18 million Handel’s campaign raised from outside political groups.
Observers in the media and political circles viewed the race as a referendum on Trump’s legislative agenda, though Bloomberg cautioned against reading too much into local elections.,
He said that most House elections are about “local issues,” — things like whether or not you can ride your bicycle on the footpath — and may not reflect the national conversation
Bloomberg further said that Trump’s long-shot candidacy shows that “You can get elected President of the United States without spending a lot of money.”
“Other than with a little help from the Russians, he was elected,” Bloomberg added. He continued, saying that “free advertising” was partially responsible for Trump’s victory.
Bloomberg, however, spent over a $US100 million of his own money to win a third term as New York City mayor in 2009.
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